The European Commission recently adopted the legislative proposal for the new European Union (EU) generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) for the period 2024-2034. The former proposed to improve some features to better respond to the evolving needs and challenges of GSP nations and to reinforce the scheme’s social, labour environmental and climate dimensions.
The GSP regulation is a unilateral trade tool that removes or reduces import duties from products coming into the EU from vulnerable low-income countries, supporting poverty eradication, sustainable development, and their participation in the global economy.
The new GSP framework strengthens the EU’s possibilities to use trade preferences to create economic opportunities and to advance sustainable development. The modernised framework also expands the grounds for the withdrawal of EU GSP preferences in case of serious and systematic violations.
The new proposal further improves the current scheme by ensuring a smooth transition for all countries set to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status in the next decade. They can apply for the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) if they commit to strong sustainability standards and can thus retain generous tariff preferences to access to the EU market;
The new proposal expands the list of international conventions that need to be complied with by adding two additional human rights instruments on the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of the child, two labour rights conventions on labour inspections and tripartite dialogue, and one governance convention on transnational organised crime.
It also proposes setting up a well-defined framework for the current GSP+ beneficiaries to adapt to the new requirements, offering an adequate transition period and requiring the presentation of implementation plans.